Last night I went out on my usual evening stroll with Frankie. Only tonight I did it with a secondary purpose. Tonight’s stroll was all about observing the light around my neighborhood in Astoria. I shared the photos in two posts on my tumblr. You can find them here and here.
None the photos will be published in Time magazine and none were instagrammed or photoshopped, I simply walked around and observed the real light people live with every day. One thing struck me - in a way everyone is a lighting designer. They might not think of themselves that way, but none the less we are all masters of the light that surrounds us.
That goes for the folks working for our municipalities as well. I’m not just talking about street lights. I wonder if the person who chose the lighting for our subway cars thought about what kind of light they would cast into the neighborhoods where elevated trains crisscross - I doubt it. But it adds a piece of beauty and texture that no one could have planned.
The walk reminded me of a recent post in lighting magazine by Ian Ruxton. In it he praises the randomness of lighting in a city. Not just the beautifully designed pieces but the shoddier, cheaper versions that somehow last for years. From his piece:"The architecture of our towns and cities isn’t homogenous. It isn’t all shiny and modern. And thank goodness for that. We love our cities to have variety and character. We love to find a winding, medieval alleyway around the corner from a 1990s shopping mall, across from a solidly neoclassical Victorian bank. A completely planned environment has a slightly weird and unnatural feel to it – it’s the undesigned aspects of a city that make it interesting."
So I end my piece with a challenge to my fellow designers. Go take a walk one evening this week and observe the lighting around you. Not just the beautiful stuff, but the thrown together displays of the local bodega. What do you see? What do you learn?
I can’t wait to see what you see.